February 5, 2023

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’80s For Brady’ Review: Four Iconic Fames Stock Tom Brady

3 min read

If “Girls Trip” is a sweet for the “Golden Girls” crowd, “80 for Brady” brings together four Hollywood legends — “Grace and Frankie” duo Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field — as a real-life gang of octogenarian amigas. Who went to the 2017 Super Bowl to cheer on their favorite quarterback, Tom Brady. Chosen as the opening-night cork-popper of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (whose diva-worshipping audiences best serve this featherweight offering representing two demographics: gay and gray), Kyle Marvin’s directorial debut is a pleasant enough reminder that these girls are still a good Play for time.

More fuddy-duddy buddy comedy than sports film, the female-scripted Laugher (co-written by Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern) celebrates the fact that football appeals to more than just bros. Never mind that its core four seem less interested in Brady’s form than how well he fills out his uniform. [need this? — a principle that applies to quite a few sports, from diving to gymnastics, if fans are being honest]. Here, Tomlin’s Lou is stuck at home, recovering from chemotherapy, and he and his girlfriends Trish (Fonda), Maura (Moreno) and Betty (Field) are frustrated that his TV is stuck on a channel showing football until they catch a glimpse. Brady.

Instant fans, they began gathering at Lou’s house to watch New England Patriots games together. By 2017, Lou is in remission and their team is headed to the Super Bowl, sparking plans — not as wild or crazy as the film suggests — for the four of them to appear. (Usually the funniest person on any team, Tomlin is forced to play a cast of cancer survivors here.) The script includes a couple of kooky scenes where they try to win tickets through a call-in contest, though they really take the picture when they get their hands on it. , starting with a low-key jailbreak where they must free Maura from her retirement home.

Instead of wasting any time on the road to Texas, Marvin cuts right through their arrival in Houston. The helmer (who produced and co-starred in “The Climb” with best friend Michelangelo Covino) tends to telegraph every joke in advance, so no one would be surprised if the ladies lose their tickets. There are broad, benign bits involving edibles, Trish’s flirtation with a former Super Bowl champ (a charming Harry Hamlin), and Betty’s participation in a hot-sauce eating contest hosted by Guy Fieri. A typical situation, spread over several scenes, shows Betty learning what “negging” means, then trying it out on a young stud while bending her elbows on the dance floor, only to have him fall for her.

“80 for Brady” may be based on a true story, but it’s presented as pure fantasy: a low-key diversion for these dark and brooding times. Its four stars are all icons who never stray from the personas they’ve created for themselves, although the still-80 Field has fun spending some time away from her needy husband with a socially awkward, statistics-loving math professor (Bob Balabon). A lively 91, Moreno dances around the others, energetically — though the film’s two dance numbers aren’t choreographed or edited to show what he can do. Fonda is a hoot as a fan-fiction-writer ex-“Mayflower Girl” whose beauty-queen background explains the elephant in the room: her job and “what it costs to look like that.”

For the most part, it’s a joy to watch these legends bounce off each other, even if the jokes feel oddly patronizing to the characters and their target audience. A lot of Hollywood comedies these days make crude “adult” jokes, whereas “80 for Brady” makes it pretty clear. Oddly enough, this makes the PG-13-rated film feel like a kid’s movie most of the time, as the ladies come up with a plan to sneak into the stadium (as Billy Porter’s backup dancer) and Brady needs an eleventh-hour pep talk. Marvin and DP John Toll (you read that right: two-time Oscar winner John Toll) do a decent job of making it look like the quartet is in for the big game, while Brady himself and the plastic bobblehead both play a good game. Stops the whole show. Be sure to stick around for the end credits, this time with “9 to 5” co-star Dolly Parton and a handful of other platinum

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